The Stormontfield Piscicultural Experiments

Artificial spawning of the salmon.

In 1853 the Stormontfield operations, or experiments, were commenced. Mr Robert Buist held the office of Superintendent of the Tay at the time, and the management of the ponds came into his hands. Only about one acre of ground was occupied by breeding-boxes, canals, and feeding ponds. Up to 1863 there was one feeding or rearing pond.  This prevented the spawning of the fish more often than once in two years. A new larger pond was added in 1864.

Layout of Feeding PondsThe pond’s breeding-boxes, inside measurement, is the following - 5 feet 10.5 inches long, 1.5 feet broad, ad 1 foot deep. Twelve boxes in each row, and 30 rows in all (360 boxes of these dimensions). The boxes were placed in double rows in the breeding-pond with an 18 inches wide footpath between each double row.

The water passes through each row of boxes, from the canal stretching along the upper end of the pond, by gravitation; this canal is copiously fed with water from the filtering-bed; the boxes are laid with a fall of 2 inches on each box, or 2 feet in the row of 12 boxes, and the water passes from box to box by openings or notches 4 inches by 2 in the middle of the divisions between the boxes. The boxes are formed of 2 inch wood.

Shown on the pond map here, is the Lade at the top, then the Filtering-pond, the Breeding-boxes, Old Feeding Pond and New Feeding Pond, open Canals, then the River tay. The keepers house is also shown top left under the lade marked.

My mother was brought up at the Ponds in the 20's and 30's, she was Kathy Morgan. She was brought up by her Aunt and Uncle Mr and Mrs Joe Scrimgeour after her father was killed in WW1 and her mother died in the 1919 flu pandemic. I will look out some photographs I have of the area and will email them to you.

Wonderful site brought back many happy memories.

Neil Savage - Alcaidesa, Spain

from the Visitor notes page

I noticed on the Stormontfield site that a lady called Shelley Innes  enquired last year about a Peter Marshall who was keeper of the salmon  ponds in the second half of the 19th century.

Peter was my great-great grandfather and I have copies of his birth  and marriage records plus his death certificate. I would be happy to  pass these to Shelley if she has not already got access and would be  keen to find out if Shelly obtained any other biographical information  on Peter - do you know if she received any replies via the site?

One other question, do you know where Peter might have been buried or  indeed where Stormontfield residents would normally be interred in  those days?
                                                Kind regards, Andrew Templeton

from the Visitor notes page

I am trying to get biographical information on Robert Buist who was  Superintendent of the Stormontfield piscicultural experiments,  1853-66 and on Peter Marshall who was the keeper of Stormontfield  pond at around the same time. The information I have is from a report  written by Buist and from William Brown's 1862 book \The natural  history of the salmon, as ascertained by the recent experiments in  the artificial spawning and hatching of the ova and rearing of the  fry, at Stormontfield, on the Tay.\ If you have any further  biographical details (birth and/or death dates, etc.) I would be  grateful to have them. Buist has been confused with another person of  the same name who emigrated to America and wrote on gardening, so I  know that many sources give the wrong dates. Many thanks for your help.
Yours sincerely   Shelley Innes

james stewart02

My research for a bibliography on my great grandfather James Stewart, Civil Engineer shows he had involvement with the salmon breeding ponds in 1853. At the time he worked under Mr. P.D. Brown,M.Inst,Civil Engineer of Perth. Mr. Brown designed these. James Stewart was later in New Zealand to be part of the introduction by Mr. Firth of Salmon to the rivers here, along with trout. Great grandfather wrote a paper on this which he read to the Auckland Institute in 1875.
Regards  Anne Stewart Ball

Follow up letter from Anne Stewart Ball

The actual paper of James Stewart " Notes on the Introduction and  Acclimatization of the Salmon can be read on the New Zealand National  Library Site Royal Society New Zealand articles and proceedings as follows

I have  inserted photograph for you also. Great grandfather was about 67 years old  when this photograph was taken. He was President of the Auckland Institute a  number of terms, Governor of the New Zealand Institute and on a special  science committee. I shall pass more information on the salmon farming to  you once have sorted it. Okoroire in New Zealand where the salmon was  introduced was more successful with trout also introduced by the same  people - Firth, Nathan and Great Grandfather who oversaw design and  construction Hamilton Rotorua Railway

I am writing his biography which is a huge task.

Fishponds cottages

Photo shows Charlie Simpson standing in front of his cottage.  Thatched roofs were normal at this time, the vegetable plots in front of the cottages are now grass.

Enlarged photo is on the news and Photos page.

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